For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 6, 2004
Statement by the President
The James S. Brady Briefing Room
1:32 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today, by executive order, I am
creating an independent commission, chaired by Governor and former
Senator Chuck Robb, Judge Laurence Silberman, to look at American
intelligence capabilities, especially our intelligence about weapons of
Last week, our former chief weapons inspector, David Kay, reported
that Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons programs and activities in
violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and was a
gathering threat to the world. Dr. Kay also stated that some pre-war
intelligence assessments by America and other nations about Iraq's
weapons stockpiles have not been confirmed. We are determined to
figure out why.
We're also determined to make sure that American intelligence is as
accurate as possible for every challenge in the future. The
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction poses the most serious of
dangers to the peace of the world. Chemical, biological, and nuclear
weapons in the hands of terrorist or terror regimes could bring
catastrophic harm to America and to our friends.
It is the policy of the United States government to oppose that
threat by any means necessary. Our efforts against proliferation begin
with and depend upon accurate and thorough intelligence. The men and
women of our intelligence community and intelligence officers who work
for our friends and allies around the world are dedicated professionals
engaged in difficult and complex work.
America's enemies are secretive, they are ruthless, and they are
resourceful. And in tracking and disrupting their activities, our
nation must bring to bear every tool and advantage at our command. In
Iraq, America and our coalition enforce the clearly stated demands of
the world -- that a violent regime prove its own disarmament. In the
aftermath of September the 11th, 2001, I will not take risks with the
lives and security of the American people by assuming the goodwill of
And now, as we move forward in our efforts to prevent the spread of
weapons of mass destruction, we must stay ahead of constantly changing
intelligence challenges. The stakes for our country could not be
higher, and our standard of intelligence gathering and analysis must be
equal to that of the challenge.
The commission I have appointed today will examine intelligence on
weapons of mass destruction and related 21st century threats and issue
specific recommendations to ensure our capabilities are strong. The
commission will compare what the Iraq Survey Group learns with the
information we had prior to our Operation Iraqi Freedom. It will
review our intelligence on weapons programs in countries such as North
Korea and Iran. It will examine our intelligence on the threats posed
by Libya and Afghanistan before recent changes in those countries.
Members of the commission will issue their report by March 31, 2005.
I've ordered all departments and agencies, including our
intelligence agencies, to assist the commission's work. The commission
will have full access to the findings of the Iraq Survey Group. In
naming this commission, these men as co-chairmen of the commission, I'm
also naming, today, Senator John McCain; Lloyd Cutler, former White
House Counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton; Rick Levin, the
President of Yale University; Admiral Bill Studeman, the former Deputy
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Judge Pat Wald, a former
judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals. Those are seven members named.
The commission calls for up to nine members. As we vet and find
additional members to fill out the nine, we will let you know.
Thank you for your attention.
END 1:37 P.M.